Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winding down in 2014

Just a little end of the year sewing . . . and it was 4 more of these Traveling Stars blocks.  I still have quite a few of these to make from 6" squares shared by guild members.

Yesterday I prepped and sewed on several pillowcases from my stash fabrics. 3 of them have snowman fabrics, 2 pillowcases have motorcycles, 1 is bright yellow with kitties, 1 is butterflies, 1 is smiley faces, and 2 more are florals.  I have the tops on 5 of them, have 2 more pinned into the "tube" and ready to sew. The rest are cut and ready to go. 

And this morning I've been doing a little organizing in my sewing room and working on my 2015 UFO list.  I've found the past 3 years that having a list of UFOs to work on has helped me focus.  When I have a little time to sew and nothing planned, then I can check that list and choose something to work on.  2014 saw a LOT of projects checked off the list and that definitely made me happy.

We're going to spend New Year's Eve having supper and watching the kids open Christmas gifts at our older daughter's house later today. They had a house full of influenza over Christmas, but everyone is healthy again and we are looking forward to spending some time with them.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

House Warming Party

This is month 4 of the House Warming Party quilt and is actually the last of the border blocks. Now the fun begins with the large center section of this quilt.  

The little red birds show up again in that center section.  I think there are 10 of them total, with 5 scattered in the border blocks.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Housewarming Party blocks

Month 3 of the Housewarming Party BOM was to make 4 of these blocks. Done!  And I looked ahead at Month 4. Can't wait to start those blocks, which will have more of the appliqued birds.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Trying to catch up

I have received quite a few "traveling squares" at the past couple of guild meetings and really need to get caught up on making the star blocks with them.  So, a little time on Christmas Eve morning and Christmas Day afternoon spent in the sewing room and there are 4 more Traveling Stars blocks done. Only a few more to go . . .

The blue fabric above is from Israel.  And the next 2 are from Sturgis SD (famous for its motorcycle rally every August).  The final star is made from a "fishy" print from a vacation to a tropical locale.  And I counted the ones left to do - 14 more have the star points and white background cut and ready to sew.  I'm getting closer to a queen-size quilt.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A new project for this week

Tonight I cut all of the pieces for a new project to work on this week. This will be a baby quilt for a friend of DD#2 who is expecting a girl in April.  The new mom sports the nickname of "Frenchie" - and that inspired the fabric I chose for her.

I'll share more about the pattern as I sew this.  It's a really great pattern for a fast finish.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Working on gifts

Another travel pillow done. A niece is having a new baby any day now and this pillow is for her toddler daughter so that she gets a present too.  I need to find the perfect book to add to this.  She is a little cowgirl, so this should be appropriate.

I also made a mint green flannel self-binding baby blanket this morning - in case the new baby is another girl. And I have a blue one ready to sew this afternoon in case she has a boy.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Just a tiny glimpse

I'm not really giving anything away with this tiny look at the latest round robin addition for our guild project.  We are all supposed to add at least 1 star somewhere this month.  I have this little star all ready to use. Now I just need to figure out what else I'm going to add to this.

Round robins are so much fun, but can be a little intimidating too.  Each month it's a surprise when I open that bag or box to see what I'm working with.  We need to add something that enhances the flow of the design and hope that we are going to make the original owner very happy when she gets the quilt back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Handmade ornaments

Two new handmade ornaments were just added to my Christmas tree. I finished the counted cross stitch ornament with a simple binding.  It has folded fabric star points for a little dimension and is about 5 inches across.

This little felt button ornament was a project from our Sew Vintage group this weekend. It's so cute and was easy to make. Some circles of felt blanket stitched together. The holes were punched so we could add the "thread" to make it look like a real button sewn on.  Thanks Pam for helping us with this little project.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Design Wall Monday - Mystery Quilt

The mystery quilt that we've been doing for Saturday Sampler . . . it's a flimsy!  This photo is terrible, but we have a grey day with freezing rain and no sunshine. 

This mystery called for 6 fabrics of our choice and was done in 4 monthly "clues".  We had only cut into 4 of the 6 fabrics after 3 months so I was totally stumped about what this would look like. But on Saturday we got the final clue. On Sunday it took me less than an hour to add the big center square-in-a-square and then add those border pieces. Another hour to audition some outer border choices and add those.  This made a nice large lap quilt.

I'm linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday at

Sunday, December 14, 2014

President's Quilt traditions

Our quilt guild makes blocks for each outgoing president at some point during that next year and we give them as a thank you gift to that member.  This year we each made a scottie dog block. The dogs are all black (solid or dark print) with bright colors. We each had the same background white dot.  At our quilt show this summer we had a display and a "bed turning" of president's quilts.

This is my block and you can see that we sign them as well.  We presented these blocks last week at our December guild meeting.  It will be fun to see what she does with them.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More travel pillows

More of the kid's travel pillows are ready for gifting.  I think this makes 17 of them in the past few weeks and I just might have to make more of them.  So quick and fun.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

More traveling star blocks coming soon

I've fallen a little behind making my Traveling Star blocks using the 6" squares shared by guild members after a trip.  Last month I think we got 5 squares, and this month we got 4 more.

The front 2 fabrics were from a couple of ladies who had just been to Israel. The blue one represents peacocks which was an important memory of the trip. The other has beautiful script in the background. The 2 fabrics in the back are from Wyoming (I hope I'm right).  

I just love this practice. Members have made some gorgeous scrappy quilts using these squares. My Traveling Stars blocks will make a beautiful scrappy quilt. And it will always be a wonderful memory of my guild friends.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Friendship quilt

A dear friend, fellow educator and fellow quilter, has just retired and 4 of us got together to make her a quilt to celebrate.  Sylvia loves cardinals, so our choice was this birch tree and cardinal design. There is a cardinal for each of us - making 5 total.  Yesterday was her big retirement party and we presented this to her there.  

I was so excited to finish this and give it to her. Each of the 4 of us made 3 birch tree blocks. Then the blocks headed 300 miles away to one friend who appliqued the cardinals. Next the blocks all came back to me and I cut all of the borders. Three of us got together to arrange the layout, and one took it all home to sew the rows together and add the borders.  Two gals picked out the backing and delivered it to the quilter (beautiful job).  Then I added the binding on Friday, finishing it up about 3 hours before the party.

I added a small label on a back corner, but we've talked about each of us signing a cardinal on the front.  And I'm hoping that the honored recipient's husband got a couple of good pictures of her with the quilt.  This was definitely a project filled with friendship and love.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Birds of a feather

When I saw this song bird fabric I just knew I wanted to use it to make an apron.  Loving the soft colors in this and had a hard time deciding which coordinated print to use with it. The plaid ended up being a good choice because it blends in nicely instead of standing out. And these little heart shaped buttons actually feel like tree bark.  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My girls

I love my smart and beautiful girls! It has been really great having them and their families so close all of these years. But life changes, and the younger daughter's family has just moved 300 miles west to the Black Hills.  We will just have to plan ahead when we want to see them, instead of spur of the moment visits. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Design Wall Monday

My Sunday evening sewing included finishing the final 4 Heartstrings blocks for this set.  I laid them out this morning on the family room floor so that I can rearrange these into rows without similar strings meeting up.  The top will then be mailed off to a Heartstrings volunteer to quilt or tie, and then donate to a worthwhile location.

My 2015 set of Heartstrings blocks are going to be black and white, with either pink or bright center strings.  I'm leaning right now to using several different bright colors for those centers, or go with just pink scrappy centers.  Either one will be fun.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November in the rear view mirror

I really got a lot of things done in November, but quite a few of the things I finished were not even on my goal list.  That's OK - it's just a bonus!

  • 3 light blue pig tail blocks for RSC14 - DONE
  • month 3 tasks for Saturday Sampler - DONE
  • bind a UFO quilt (Wishin' For Spring) - DONE
  • Round 1 border for our guild Round Robin quilt - DONE
  • 2 self-binding baby blankets for gifts
  • 5 traveling stars blocks
  • 3 Heartstrings blocks - DONE
  • hand quilt another 1/4 of the cats quilt
However, my biggest accomplishments this month were spur-of-the-moment tasks and things I was asked to make as gifts.  And these have given me the most satisfaction.
  • Worked on my section of a group project
  • Apron with a coffee theme (gift for daughter's friend)
  • 12 traveling pillows with pockets for books (6 were for co-workers by request/ 4 as gifts for my own grandchildren/2 left to gift elsewhere)
  • 2 UFO finishes of 10 year old Thimbleberries projects YIPPEE!!!
  • Strip n Twist project finished from a guild class in April 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Basket wallhanging is done

One more UFO to check off the list.  This Thimbleberry design was made in August 2004, and then the flimsy just hung in my sewing room closet - until this month. It's now quilted beautifully, thanks to the ladies at The Pin Cushion, and it's bound.  This will hang in a guest bedroom so that it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Busy hands

I was organizing a closet shelf earlier this fall and found my box of counted cross stitch supplies.  And I found myself doing the little star with year in it - because that pattern was in the box.  Fast forward to last night - and I added the folded fabric and it's about 6" across.  So now I have the beginning of . . . something.  Maybe it will become a Christmas tree ornament.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Not as old as I thought . . .

The 2 Thimbleberries UFOs that I'm finally finishing aren't as old as I originally thought they were.  In the baggy with the binding for the 2nd one was this little slip of paper: August 2004.  So they've only been marinating for 10 years, not the 15 I was guessing. Makes me feel slightly better.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Checking off another finish

It's done - YAY!!! This ancient Thimbleberry project is this week's UFO finish.  In the baggie with the binding were 4 piping strips all ready to add to that binding.

I really love this one and even though it technically isn't a Christmas project, I think it will look great on my dining room table during the holidays.

I'm linking up to Crazy Mom's Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quilting with my credit card

This is a little glimpse of a really, really, really old UFO that is now ready to bind.

I always got a kick out of Eleanor Burns comments about "quilting with her credit card", and I've taken that to heart this month. Earlier in the month I took a large quilt and a small quilt to The Pin Cushion to be quilted.  Happily, those 2 quilts are now completely finished. Yay!

And last week I took in 3 small projects that are wall hanging or table sized.  And yesterday I got a call that they were ready to pick up. And all 3 are just beautifully quilted. Thank you to the talented ladies at The Pin Cushion!  Hopefully I can attach the binding for this one tonight after work. And that binding was also made years ago, rolled up in a zip lock bag, hanging with this project in my closet.

Two of these smaller projects (including this one) are things I made many years ago in a Thimbleberries Club.  I sewed several really pretty projects that just never got quilted - until now.

My estimate is that this one is maybe 15 years old. Shameful isn't it?  What really amazes me is that I finished the tops and made the bindings - but still never got around to getting them quilted.  That must be the nature of UFOs: so close to the finish line but never quite reaching it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another UFO finish - Wheels

This child's quilt is called the Quick Strippee and the pattern is free on Mary's blog.   Mary has several free patterns, but this one is really fast and easy.  She also leads the Heartstrings project, which is where I've sent my string quilt tops for donations.  This one - called Wheels because of the fabric I used - is a UFO that I finished this week. The ladies at The Pin Cushion quilted it with a fun star and stipple design.  It has a red minkee backing that really shows off the quilting.

You can find the links to both Heartstrings and to Mary's quilt patterns on the right side menus on her blog.  Check it out - lots of great ideas!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Secret projects

I spent the morning working on a project that I can't show, except for just this little peek.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Clue 3 for Saturday Sampler

Our mystery quilt project for Saturday Sampler is a bit different than usual. Instead of making individual blocks, we're actually building the quilt as we go. Here is Clue #3 steps all completed.  I have 4 of these units made.  And we have so far only used 4 of the 6 fabrics we chose.

I'm starting to imagine different ways that these unit could go together, but of course it is only guessing for now.  Clue #4 will be revealed in December.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Finally - a big UFO finished

My focus the past month or so has really been on lots of small things getting finished, but it sure feels good to finish something big too.  Here is Wishin' For Spring - all done.

This was a 2013 Saturday Sampler quilt so it isn't an ancient UFO, but it was so close to done.  All it needed was binding and I got that done this week.  The quilting was done by the ladies at The Pin Cushion and is so pretty with the bright variegated thread with a flowery shape.  I love it.    

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Aprons make great gifts

This coffee themed apron is a gift I'm making for a friend of my daughter.  This girlfriend was so good to my daughter when she was on bed rest with the twins and then after they were born too.  So this little gift is a thank you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A wine caddy

The photo isn't the best (it's a very grey day outside), but I'm excited about the quilted wine caddy/bag we made at Sew Vintage Club last Saturday.  I found some ribbon and a snowflake button to add just a little extra touch.  It's all ready to add a bottle of wine and be a gift for someone at Christmas.

The pattern is in the latest copy of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.(Dec. 20140.  I may have to make another one of these because it was so quick and easy.  No hand stitching at all - except for the button.

American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Special tools

What kind of tools do you use to turn narrow tubes, such as straps?  My "go to" tool is the hemostat. It lets me reach way down into the tube and grab a section, then pull.  It works really well. But I'm wondering . . . what else is out there that works just as well?

Sometimes I also use the hemostat to pull things like elastic through a casing.  If the casing is long however, I use the safety pin method: attach a large safety pin to the end of the elastic and pull/push it through by feeling for the pin through the casing fabric.

Monday, November 10, 2014

A little weekend sewing

I managed a little sewing this weekend, including 3 HeartStrings blocks.  I thought I only needed 5 more to finish the set, but found that I really need 7 more.

And I'm thinking ahead to the next set of HeartStrings blocks . . . pink centers with black and white strings. I have a ton of black and white fabrics in my stash, and quite a few pinks too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

RSC14 - month 11

This month's RSC14 color is light blue and my blocks are finished. The photo is horrible as they look wrinkled and dull, but that is only because I need a better place to take photos other than my family room floor.

Now, I need to decide on the color for December, because that has been left up to us to decide.  I have some lavender fabrics pulled and some light brown ones, but can't decide if I want another lighter color or something bolder, like coral. We have a good balance of light and dark so far (red/pink, light and dark green, light and dark blue). Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

English paper pieced ornament

I found a photo online of this cute little Christmas ornament and decided I just had to make one. It's made of hexies, both front and back. I left the card stock shapes inside one ring, and then took them out of the other ring of hexies. All hand stitched and all ready to hang on my tree next month.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New goals for November

November should be a good month for sewing since our warm fall weather is bound to end and that means more indoor time.  Plus my husband will be doing a lot more travel for work, so I'll have some quiet evenings at home.  I'm going to focus on small projects again for now.  Here are my goals for the month of November:

  • 3 light blue pig tail blocks for RSC14
  • month 3 tasks for Saturday Sampler
  • bind a UFO quilt (Wishin' For Spring)
  • Round 1 border for our guild Round Robin quilt
  • 2 self-binding baby blankets for gifts
  • 5 traveling stars blocks
  • 3 Heartstrings blocks
  • hand quilt another 1/4 of the cats quilt

Monday, November 3, 2014

Looking back at October

October was a great month for sewing even though most everything I did was small.

  • 3 brown RSC14 blocks - DONE
  • 5 Heartstrings blocks - no 
  • complete Sept. Saturday Sampler tasks - DONE
  • month #2 blocks for House Warming Party BOM - DONE
  • mitten theme table topper (UFO) - DONE & given away
  • Halloween table topper (UFO) - DONE
  • complete another 1/4 of the hand quilting on Cats - yes!
  • bind another UFO - no
  • traveling pillows with pockets for the grand-kids (and other kids) for Christmas gifts - 9 are DONE

One of the highlights of October has been receiving the Halloween swap blocks from the swap host Denise.  I sent in 9 blocks (3 sets of 3) and received 9 back.  So, including my own blocks, I now have 12 blocks to make a fun Halloween quilt for next year.  

I also mailed 7 pillowcases to a great donation project in North Carolina.  I still have more to donate somewhere, and lots of stash to keep making them.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Possibilities are endless

Here is one possible layout. I won that center block and framed it a couple of years ago. But then what?

So these new blocks may be the perfect next addition. I am thinking about more narrow black sashing. 

These ideas float around my head as I drive to and from work. Especially last night as I had an hour drive.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's almost Halloween

Today when I got home from work there was a soft squishy package waiting for me, and I just couldn't wait to open it up.  My Halloween Swap blocks had arrived.

The top row are the blocks I made for the swap and the other 9 are blocks I received. Aren't they fantastic?  Every block has unique Halloween fabrics.  I just LOVE these!  Next step is deciding how I want to put them together.  So many possibilities . . .

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Selvages . . .

Isn't this just the cutest selvage you've seen?  I love it when I find unique ones, because I collect selvages and have made several projects using them.

Do you keep your selvages and what do you make with them?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Grown up version

UPDATE:  the pattern for this pillow is On-The-Go Travel Pillow from Fishsticks Designs. They have a great website.

Here is the grown up version of the traveling pillow, and the best thing about it is that everything came from my stash.  The ribbon was a scrap leftover from some long ago craft project, the hexie was an "orphan", the front is made from 2 fat quarters from the stash, and the back and handle were from the stash too.  

I even had a 16" pillow form in my sewing room closet. Now I'm feeling challenged to make at least one more this size because there is still another 16" pillow form in that closet.

More travel pillows

Finished 5 travel pillow covers this week and 4 of those are already sold to some coworkers.  This is a nice little stash buster project. And we all know that I have LOTS of stash that I could use for these.

I have one larger version all cut and ready to go, but plan to applique a little something on the pocket before sewing the pillow.  I think that one may become a Christmas gift for someone.

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's not too early

It really isn't too early to be thinking about Christmas, is it?  

This cute Santa block was originally the December Count On It block, but I've been using a different one for that little hanger. So, it has been waiting to have a purpose. Well, that purpose is now determined - Santa is going to be the center of my Round Robin project for guild.  

I need to find some red buttons for the holly berries, and then put them (and the little black eye beads) into a tiny little bag to set aside for adding at the end.  And I need to iron a piece of muslin to freezer paper for a label to include with the box. 

I'm very excited to start this Round Robin and can't wait to see what I receive to work on first.  This type of project really pushes me out of my comfort zone and sparks some new ideas. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New blocks for House Warming

I finally got the little red birds appliqued last night onto the 3 blocks for month 2 of the House Warming Party BOM. These 3 blocks, plus the 4 from last month, will all go into the outside borders of this quilt.  I am really excited to work my way into the center section, which has bird houses - and more birds.  Fun!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Contrast is key

A couple of weeks ago I cut kits for 2 table toppers. The first one had a winter theme with red mitten fabric. This one is for Halloween and I just love this one.  That ribbon around the edge pops doesn't it?

I've learned - again - the lesson that contrast is key for a design like this.  The mitten topper is very boring because I didn't have enough contrast in that ribbon feature to make it stand out. I should have chosen a solid gold instead of a coordinating print to go with the red I used with the mitten fabric.  Lesson learned . . . but will I remember it?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A glorious sky

This has been a beautiful autumn so far and I feel really blessed to live where I can see a sunset as glorious as this one tonight.  I'm in Pierre for a conference, and took an evening walk along the Missouri River.  I had to stop and admire God's handiwork!